As I look back over this year's hiking season, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our mountains, lakes and streams on many amazing paths. The wildflower season was one of spectacular beauty and lasted well into August.
We are losing more of our lodgepole pines to the pine bark beet. Our forests won't be the same. I don't know if we humans created conditions that allowed those beetles to flourish. I hope not. Perhaps our forests needed change and this is nature's way.
I am grateful for all who have hiked those paths with me, especially Judith, my faithful trail companion for these past ten summers. I give thanks for my feet, legs, knees and hips, that after 72 years still take me into paths above treeline and allow me to commune with lakes and meadows such as ones I've shown on earlier blogs. I could promise not to push them hard, but that might be a promise I wouldn't keep even this week when we look forward to a hike we've missed the last couple of years.
The season is changing. The aspens in their glory predict that their leaves will soon fall. As a child I believed the trees in our woods, that like Britain's Prince Charles, I talked to on a regular basis, needed a rest. I did feel a touch of sadness when their leaves of color--more orange and red than in our mountain forests--fell to the ground. I gathered my favorites--those with gold, orange and red with even a touch of green--and pressed them into a book so I could remember their beauty during the winter when the trees lost their decorations.
On Saturday's drive to the Hessie trailhead beyond Eldora, we saw trees whose leaves had already fallen, as well as glorious hillsides dotted with splashes of bright yellow aspens tucked into the pine forests. Those bare trees reminded me that we expect our first signs of snow in the mountains before this month is past.
As I think of the seasons of the year, I also think of seasons of life. I'm certainly less decorative than I was in earlier seasons (assuming I was then!). I'm slower in speech and no longer keep the frenetic pace I kept for so many years. To many, I'm old. Interesting--I don't think of myself that way. When I smile, many of my wrinkles disappear (briefly) so my photos look younger than I look to those who see me when I'm tired or sad or stressed.
Oh yes, I titled this writing "real change." Today I'm grateful for time to let the little girl Margaret, who suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to protect, grieve. I'm grateful for time to let her know how sorry I am for what happened to her, for time to help her heal. I'll add another word to those in the Enneagram thought--surrender. I'm grateful for time to surrender to the process of Divine healing--the healing that brings real change.